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Sitting Practice: A Novel
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Sitting Practice: A Novel

3.07  ·  Rating details ·  215 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
It only takes a moment for your life to be changed forever—as the characters of this darkly comic novel discover early on. The fateful moment for the newlyweds Ross and Iliana comes with the freak automobile accident that leaves Iliana paralyzed, Ross grief-stricken, and both of them struggling to come to terms with a married life nothing like they originally had in mind. ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 11th 2008 by Trumpeter (first published 2003)
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Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
I guess this woman is Canadian based on the fact the book begins in Vancouver and is written in a different tone than I have run into before. Wikipedia says I am right she is from Alberta.

I have learned from my recent pondering and reading that Americans and English people have different dispositions. Americans expect everything to come about and turn out perfectly. English people expect everything to be shit in the end. And from this book I would say Canadians expect everything to be shit but
Kerry Clare
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Caroline Adderson is so funny. Why don't more people know this?
May 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
I didn't like it much. It was well written, but I just didn't care about these people all that much. (I kept thinking Ross, QUIT WHINING)

Anyhow, obviously well done characters as I really felt like I KNEW them. Sad situation - happy couple. in a car, tennis ball rolling around on the floor, he asks her to get it, she does (had to unbuckle to do so) and a truck comes along and BLAM! Their lives are irrevocably changed. And Ross blames himself for the accident...

Good reminder to enjoy the now as w
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Ross and Iliana are newlyweds who suddenly have to deal with Iliana, an athlete, being paralyzed by a car accident and needing to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life. The book is fantastic and shows both character's points of views. The only problem with it is that Bonnie, Ross' twin sister, annoys the crap out of me, as do most of Ross' ex girlfriends. Who really wears white to someone else's wedding? That's just rude. (this is a comment on the characters, not on the writing of the charac ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is no sweet and sticky sugar-coating with this novel.
It is real and down to earth and you're not going to hold a soft spot in your heart for either of the flawed protagonists.
They are certainly not heroes, but they are not bad people either. They are everyday people like you and me.
The story went back and forth for me. I found some parts to be very riveting, while other parts did not hold my attention that much.
It's a 3 1/2 star book for me.
Not outstanding. But a very decent read.
May 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book is a realistic portrayal of what happens to a couple when one of them has a spinal cord injury. It wasn't as depressing as I thought it would be, and the book doesn't focus on the injury so much as how it transforms the couple. It does so in unpredictable ways. The book is interesting but there are parts I didn't like. The author occasionally flashes back to earlier scenes in Iliana & Ross's relationship, yet skips over some key ones. Ross's twin sister Bonnie, a major character, i ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Perhaps the most accurate book I've read that includes activities of daily living for a person in a wheelchair, and it was also an interesting story!

The protagonist is really Ross, the husband, we don't get quite as in-depth with Iliana (who is the wheelchair user). I loved the small details of their life, Canada, his work, etc.

The end came a hair too quickly for me, but that was more of a desire for the story to keep going than any fault in the writing. Good stuff!
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
(view spoiler) ...more
What do you do when the unthinkable happens? When your life is suddenly, irrevocably altered from the one you thought was all planned out? Ross and Iliana go from happy newlyweds to car crash victims in the blink of an eye. With Iliana now paralyzed and Ross stricken with guilt, we are with them as they cycle through anger, grief, and resentment until they are ultimately, slowly able to adjust to their altered lives with grace and even humor. An emotionally riveting novel that at times left me t ...more
Ruth Seeley
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In yet another example of weird reading synchronicity, I had just finished reading a friend's memoir of the car accident that devastated her life for many years as well as that of the baby she was carrying when I came across this novel. My perspective on it is therefore, perhaps, a little warped. But this is a fascinating account of a life-altering event and how individuals respond to it. And from what my friend said in her memoir (and from what I know from personal experience after watching my ...more
Rebecca Biason
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it
While the characters in this novel were intriguing, particularly Ross who is about the most selfish individual you might ever meet and feel sorry for, the conclusion of the novel seemed to fade and not tie up loose ends the way the reader might have anticipated. There is reconciliation, but Adderson throughout the book makes the reader crave a different kind of ending, perhaps one not so realistic. The reader would prefer an ending that they would not have picked for themselves, and perhaps that ...more
Rena Graham
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I admire Caroline Adders on's writing a lot and how could you not? She has such a way with language and characterization. She brings great breadth of character development and really knows how to tell a story. I enjoyed this book but didn't buy into the main character's equipoise (Iliana) after her accident. Just didn't ring true. Her sister-in-law was over the top in the opposite direction. And the writing - jam packed sentences that give no rest for the reader. Choked with cleverness. The endi ...more
Nicole Engard
Sitting Practice was an interesting story of the trials a marriage faces when tragedy strikes. That said, there were few surprises in this story. I felt for the characters, but wasn't attached to them as I have been in other books. I was moved by the trials the main characters faced, but not to the point of cheering them on the right path. The book itself was written in such a way that I could feel myself in the settings and sometimes even see the characters interacting. Adderson has a lovely wr ...more
Apr 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
10/8/08 - Mixed feelings about this one. While the storyline had good potential, I never really felt like I "knew" the characters very well and even after finishing the novel, I wasn't sure what the purpose of the story was. It did venture off in ways I wasn't expecting, and that made it interesting. But something just didn't settle seemed disjointed at times & the short flashback sections didn't seem to fulfill an adequate purpose. But there were parts of this novel that were inte ...more
May 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
I read this book because of the title - I have been taking a meditation class, so the title appealed to me. While the novel starts off strong with a car accident changing the lines of newlyweds in a split second, it seems to go on and on, with the characters fairly writhing in their misery until the end, when they are still miserable, but somehow ok with it. Interesting writing, but like most Can Lit, not exactly uplifting.
Salma El-Shafie
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable book, I liked that the author got into the significant events right away, from the very beginning of the book. It deals with a newly weds' accident and how it changes their lives, both of them, even though only one iwas physically affected, the psychological damage and guilt that the other spouse felt was the real cause for their problems.i loved the details, not only were the scenes visually described, but the author would describe how things felt. loved the details.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I think Caroline Adderson is quite underrated as a writer. She's very funny and a keen observer of human nature. I really appreciate her eye for humour in moments of tragedy.

This book had a good balance of humour and sadness. I also liked the Vancouver and Duncan settings and appreciated the plot.

The copy that I got seemed to be a British edition because it had British-ims like "kerb" and "takeaway", which was amusing to read in such a Canadian novel.
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this is a great read----a newlywed ends up in a wheelchair shortly after the wedding, and her husband, who idolizes her, is one of those guys who is squeamish at the sight of blood or other bodily fluids, so he feels guilty and repulsed and still adores her. the author gives everyone's perspective, so i ended up empathizing with all the characters. also, there is a lot of interesting food talk in this book, which i thoroughly enjoyed.
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Picked this up at the library without knowing anything about it and was pleasantly surprised. The first novel for Adderson, it is a story of two newlyweds who get in a car accident. The woman is paralyzed (happens on first page- calm down) and the plot revolves around her dealing with life in a wheelchair and how it affects her marriage. Sounds depressing and it parts of it are but it is also compelling and funny. A real page turner- I really liked it.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008august
What a painful, lovely book.

I'll be looking for Adderson's other novels. She opens a window for us, so we can peer in and see all the ugliness and occasional beauty of day-to-day relationships. It's not sugar coated, but it's not glorified grime, either.

It's a breath of mountain air. But the smog is underneath.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a somewhat satisfying read, although I never could buy into the changes in the characters. I guess the trauma could lead to such behavior, but I never felt the author justified it through the prose. The story did keep me reading to find out what would happen, but in the end nothing really stands out as memorable. Okay, at best.
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book about the realities of tragedy and how a young married couple cope with their ideals of the perfect marriage gone horribly wrong. I loved this book for so many reasons, most of which have to deal with the authors raw outpour of emotions from each of the characters, all flawed but hopeful in their own way. I especially loved the ending.
Apr 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
I got about 150 pages in before I gave up and stopped reading. I'm mad I wasted 150 pages on this book. So not worth it. The story line would be a good one if maybe it was written by someone else. This story is all over the place and I was just done. Not worth my time. There are too many good books out there.
May 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Ross loves Iliana but two weeks after they have married, he is driving her home, takes his eyes off the road and crashes. She is left in a wheelchair and the rest of the story deals with the way they cope with the accident. It is an interesting look at relationships under strain and I liked the Canadian setting.
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by the storyline of an accident within weeks of getting married. The plot handled details sensitively, yet, I didn't succumb as much as usual to the characters and their struggles. Interesting perspectives on how one sees - and is seen - when the body is suddenly changed.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and the way it was written. I just love how the author drew out the details and went back to things a little later on to wrap them up. I don't often say this, but I would love to see more about what the author would like to see happen for this couple.
Becky Schulman
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
Wanted to like this book, but after finishing it, not
really sure that I did. It probably would have worked
better as a short story/novella. Didn't like 2 of the
main characters which didn't help. Ended up feeling like
assigned reading.
Aug 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this one - the description seemed very intriguing. Unfortunately I just couldn't get into this novel. I felt like the author skipped around too much and I found myself skimming pages.
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Although the subject matter is grim (newly married bride becomes paralyzed shortly after wedding) this book is great - manages to bring a light touch to a serious matter. Lots of humor, great dialogue.
Deanne Harvey
Sep 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Disappointing, would not recommend
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Caroline Adderson grew up in Alberta. After traveling around Canada, she moved to B.C. to go to university and has mostly lived there ever since. She started writing seriously after university, eventually going on to write two internationally published novels (A History of Forgetting and Sitting Practice) and two collections of short stories for adults (Bad Imaginings and Pleased To Meet You). Whe ...more
More about Caroline Adderson
“The golden rule of business is supply and demand. I venture to say that this is also the rule of happiness. When a balance is achieved between our desires and another's willingness to satisfy them, the result is a sympathetic, mutually rewarding relationship. (...) a thriving economy of love.' - character Mike Lambeth” 4 likes
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